“In fact, as his life became richer and more satisfying, his melancholy exerted a stronger pull.”[iii] As I became more and more successful in the outer world, and began to acquire more and more things, the depression would work its way out of me in many different ways, constantly changing in how it would manifest. It began to take on a life of its own. All I knew, all I felt was this constant nagging at my conscious by this force or energy that I wanted to shut down.
“It is as if depression has a life of its own, which is perhaps why so many sufferers refer to it as a living thing, as some sort of demon or beast.”[iv] I call it the Ggod Damned Demon. Thats it to the right, with a nose job, face lift and make up and it still looks like shit, doesnt it? The underlying causation of the demon is too complex to get into in here. I’m listening to the Jackson Browne song called, “Cut it Away,” as I write this. It’s so appropriate. In it he says, “cut it away before it tears me apart.” That’s how I felt about the demon. But the more I fought it, the more it fought back. Since it had all of the psychic energy controlled, eventually it won out.
“The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality and my life, as I write this, is vital even when sad.”[v] I feel very sad in the moment. I just came from interacting with a bunch of friends. What I felt was sad that my life had to get turned so upside down for me to understand what it was. But I am alive now because I’m feeling the sadness and this pain.
“When you have spent long years in the dark, there is joy in seeing the light and pleasure, above all, in the ordinary.” [vi] It was wonderful to be around the people as we prepared for a service commitment in AA. It is the ordinary that I long for again. It is a part of life that I’ve missed for so long. I feel uncomfortable a little as I said earlier, but I wouldn’t miss hanging out with my friends, the teachers.
So, the question does it take our death to learn what life is worth? What I’ve learned through this 2 1/2 years of overt depression is that the moments in life that matter are the ones where I get to look somebody in the eye and experience the moment that we are sharing. True intimacy for me is to bare myself, my fears, my dreams, my heart, my hurt to someone who looks at me and without even saying a word lets me know that I’ve been heard.
I did it today with my buddy the leprechaun. I talked with him about some behavior that he did that I felt was inappropriate. He didnt try to make me ok and I didnt try to make him ok. We looked at each other and breathed. We worked through something, without words!!
I also went to a concert for the first time in years last night. My friend Don took me to see a wonderful jazz show. The music made me move and the atmosphere was energized. I was really excited to be hearing wonderful Dizzy Gillespie influenced music. I was dancing in my chair.(Its weird, when I was young,we used to stand and dance at almost every show. Now everyone sits.) I felt the music in my body and that was nice.
I try to do four simple things for the people I interact with. To be loving, understanding, comforting, and kind.
[i]Jackson Browne, Of Missing Persons. [ii] Wayne Dyer [iii] Joshua Wolf [iv] Sally Brampton [v]Andrew Solomon[vi] Sally Brampton ajaytao2010.wordpress.com is where the cherry blossom and the norweigan winter photos came from.
It is better to seek forgiveness than it is permission. 123 Fanatic!